The long awaited and pompously announced foundation of the new Serb Progressive Party lead by former radical Tomislav Nikolić has come and it is time to give my impressions.
First of all the convention had no Serbian music, not even foreign classical music as a theme. In their stead was soundtrack from "Rocky", as a testimony how far they have "modernised" I suppose. Speeches were mostly empty, devoid of any substance or meaningful point, full of cliches about "better life", "bridge between east and west" and "battling crime". Not a word about the party platform, ideology or even vaguest ideas on how they were going to implement their ideas, whatever they may be. The atmosphere in the, it has to be said, fully packed Sava Centar was appropriate to it, lukewarm, faint, without any real enthusiasm expected from an occasion like this, especially since the heads of the new party have repeatedly been telling how glad they were to lose the "balast of radicalism". A friend of mine present at the convention put it best: "Sava Centar full, yet, somehow empty".
Perhaps the presence of the representatives from the embassies of the US, Britain and France had something to do with it. They were brought, according to Nikolić, in order to hear first hand what they have to say. I wonder if in their conversations they mentioned NATO agression, Milica Rakić, the recognition of Kosovo and Metohija and plenty more, or they did not want to spoil the subsequent coctail party. And how does Luka Karadžić, brother of Radovan, fit in the picture? Propably as an indicator that trying to be be all things to all people will be the hallmark of the new party.
When the split in the radicals occured I predicted that the new party of Tomislav Nikolić would be, at best, DSS(of Vojislav Koštunica) on steroids. That was an overly optimistic appraisal if there ever was one. What was seen in Sava Centar was pre-2006 DSS that urgently needs an injection of testosterone.